THE SOCIALIST PARTY
SP: Thanks for talking to The Socialist, Tony. On the 31 May we saw the seventh day of strike action of ambulance workers organised by NASRA. What is the dispute about and what is its significance?
TG: The dispute is essentially about workers’ right to choose the union that represents them rather than the bosses or employers choosing their representation for them. Up to now, the ambulance service, HSE and the government have chosen the unions who they think will best represent us. Obviously, people have a right to join those unions, but equally we have a right to join our union. Employer and government have stonewalled us. Essentially they have used a union-busting tactic, by refusing to continue to deduct our union dues at source as they have done over the last nine years.
This happened when it became clear that we were the majority union in terms of membership in the ambulance service. We actually feel a specific responsibility towards a new generation of workers, who are now starting to join the trade union movement. We need to protect their democratic rights and we are particularly motivated to make sure they aren’t sold out.
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